The AIF Project

James Bruce THOMPSON

Regimental number2915
Place of birthHobart, Tasmania
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation30
Height5' 5.5"
Weight130 lbs
Next of kinFather, J M Thompson, 14 Melbourne Street, Hobart, Tasmania
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date31 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll31 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 1 September 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll49th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death from cemetery records31
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
149
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James Mathew and Louisina Ellen THOMPSON, Hobart, Tasmania. Commemorated in Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart, Tasmania.
Family/military connectionsBrother: 8169A Pte Clarence THOMPSON, 5th Field Ambulance, returned to Australia, 12 June 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 9th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 19 January 1916. Transferred to 49th Bn, 25 February 1916; to 4th Pioneer Bn, 16 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 4 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 11 June 1916. Transferred to 49th Bn, 17 July 1916.

Found guilty by Field General Court Martial, 24 July 1916, of 'in the field when on Active Service absenting himself without leave 0700 am on 19.7.16 until 1015 20.7.16': awarded 4 months' imprisonment with hard labour. Found guilty by Field General Court Martial, 3 December 1916, of 'while on Active Service, of drunkenness, 10.11.16': awarded 12 months' imprisonment with hard labour; commuted to 6 months' imprisonment with hard labour. Admitted to 5th Military Prison, Les Attaques, 7 January 1917. Admitted to 35th General Hospital, Calais, 31 January 1917; transferred to 30th General Hospital, 17 February 1917 (cuminania: severe); discharged to Military Prison, 22 February 1917; released from prison on remission of sentence as from date of entraining for the front. Rejoined Bn, 13 May 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 7 June 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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